The Massachusetts Association for Professional Law Enforcement (MAPLE), a statewide organization of current, former and retired police officers and criminal justice educators, who advocate for police reform, applauds a report released today by State Auditor Suzanne Bump concerning the dire conditions of police training in Massachusetts. Bump’s report revealed shocking evidence of catastrophic failure in the Commonwealth’s system of police training. She warns that many communities stand on the precipice of significant legal liability because of this situation. The quality and unavailability of facilities, curriculum and instructors are critically problematic, leaving many municipalities to bear the cost of police training on their own or simply neglect it altogether.
MAPLE President Dennis Galvin said: “police officers confront on a daily basis issues involving the mentally ill, domestic violence, people in crisis and use of force; it is unconscionable to expect them to respond ethically and professionally to these challenges without providing them the necessary training needed to perform at optimum levels”. He added that: “public safety is a fundamental state responsibility and the root cause of this situation has been the failure of state leadership to acknowledge this.”
Galvin said: “some in the state legislature have recognized this deficiency and are trying to correct it”. He offered H2146 co- sponsored by Representatives Dave Vieira and Russell Holmes, as a bipartisan effort to bring coordination and order to police hiring and training in Massachusetts. The bill proposes a commission to examine the establishment of a Police Officer Training and Standards (POST) authority. This authority would regulate and direct police hiring and training. Such an authority would also advocate for the needs of the police service on Beacon Hill hopefully preventing further neglect. The Massachusetts Association For Professional Law Enforcement has fully endorsed this effort and has consistently asserted that there is a moral obligation to ensure police officers receive the proper training that they need. Galvin said a POST system is the best way to ensure this. Bump’s report further reveals that a growing number of Police Chiefs in Massachusetts are also coming to this conclusion.